Greetings! Adam here, bringing another little behind the scene look at Foxhole.
Disclaimer: All of the content below is heavily work in progress and is subject to change. Viewer discretion is advised
Communication Tools @Artemiye
With the release of World Conquest, gone are the days where you'd only have to support and operate out of one region. If you're running logistics, you need to be aware of your team's needs and ensure that your fellow soldiers are aware of your intent. Forward positions and even entire regions can be lost simply due to the attrition of supplies, and Information can be the direct cause of whether or not front line squads will be effective in a battle. Essentially, effective communication is critical when you're trying to win a war.
With that in mind, we wanted to provide players with more methods to convey information efficiently. We recently implemented Operations, which allows for players to easily form groups and to communicate globally via text or voice. In 0.17, there will be several small, but important features that were designed with the following goals in mind:
1. To continue improving player communication tools
2. To integrate existing features more seamlessly with World Conquest.
One of these features is the first iteration of Friends list support. You can add or remove a friend simply by toggling their friend status in their player context menu (below). This will allow you to see when they're online if they're on the same faction and shard as you and will allow you to easily contact them during future play sessions. Of course, this first iteration wouldn't feel nearly as complete without global whisper functionality, so we made sure that was implemented along with this feature. You'll be able to whisper any other member of your faction as long as you're both on the same shard.
Note: We have heard your concerns about current chat colours, and we will address them for a future patch.
Visibility Touchups @Adam
We recently had some time to update the look of visibility states in Foxhole. Our goal is to try and apply the same Dither Fade every time a player becomes hidden from view. As a less resource intensive alternative to transparency, we use a low volume noise with an opaque material to create the illusion of transparency. This is called Dithering.
Note: We have not touched any of the visibility mechanics, but we are aware of the issues the community has surfaced.
Rocks and Stuff @Matt
There are parts of producing content for a live, early access game that people don’t think about. As level designers on Foxhole, Max and I have to deal with some unique problems. Sometimes, it’s keeping up with the management of 12+ large maps and the design changes that happen with the game. In the past, I've had to gut maps the community loves. Other times it’s replacing rocks.
A couple of months ago, Anthony created a new kit of rock assets that we designed for three purposes. One, to look good from a top-down perspective, two, to be more efficient for us to build with and three, players shouldn’t get stuck in them. One significant challenge we faced when building out the concept for these rocks, was how to cover large areas while maintaining scale. The highlighted player shows that the scale of the old rocks wasn’t exactly… kosher.
As you’ve seen in several areas of the game, we succeeded! Now we have to go through the entire game and replace those rocks. I wish I could say there’s a magic button to just ploop, replace all those rocks, (that would mean less work for me!) but there isn’t one.
Callahan’s passage presented the biggest challenge, and so it’s one of the first maps we tackled. It has a history of players exploiting rocks by climbing them. Some players had been doing this by building structures in front of rock formations to climb them. So Max, being the bright, intelligent, wondrous individual that he is, came up with a straightforward strategy. Stack small, climbable rocks in front of the larger ones so that players can’t build; it’s so simple.
You never think about rocks as being a particularly complex asset. Many of our maps and environments in video games include hundreds, thousands, even tens of thousands of rocks. Cliffs and mountains and waterfalls and canyons, nature has a lot of rocks. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the new rock formations in Callahan’s Passage.
Trash Post @Adam
Growing a team requires a lot of planning and effort. Something that you never plan for is the amount of garbage real estate you have. I am constantly shocked by how much trash a handful of men can humanly produce on a daily basis. In a recent study done by myself, you can clearly see that garbage growth is exponential, rather than linear. See Graph below.
To solve this problem we decided to upgrade our in-house garbage can into something that would rival a waste bin in an amusement park. Throwing out the trash has never been this fun! Next up is a permanent solution to fridge space.
We are planning to start doing some behind the scenes streams, highlighting the work we are doing in more detail. If this is something that interests you please make sure to let us know what you would like to see!
That wraps up another Dev Blog. Be sure to check out our Foxhole Dev Stream for more information about upcoming features. If you have any burning questions you want to be answered be sure to tweet them to @Matt directly on Discord or Twitter if your question gets selected it will be answered Live on stream!
Grappling on to the leg of a Wingdrake, Adam zips off into the wilderness.